One Night Stand (2016) Game Review

Short hand-drawn game experience has plenty of re-playability.

One Night Stand, developed by Kinmoku, is a 2016 interactive visual novel that simulates the morning after a one night stand.

Our character is hungover and naked in an unknown bed and room, next to an unknown girl with no recollection of what happened the night before. One Night Stand is also a 2017 Independent Game Award nominee for Excellence in Narrative. It is currently available on Steam.

Interactive visual novels are stories told in a choose-your-own-adventure format. Upon closer inspection, visual novels, more commonly abbreviated as VNs, are plentiful across all platforms. Some have reigned in plenty of success like Steins Gate on Playstation consoles which has a sequel on its way. Then we have all lengths of different indie VN experiences on Steam from free one shots to kinetic to some like these ones which are more interactive and choice-based. Talking about VN is similar to looking at a book. Our focus is the storytelling: Whether it is immersive and believable. It usually is in first person narrative and begs the question of whether it creates a bond with our character and what choices we want them to make? One Night Stand ticks all the boxes of an immersive and interactive environment. Some events won’t make a difference but there are others that will dictate the path to one of the twelve endings to discover. One choice can change what happens. Aside from twelve endings to unlock, there is also a myriad of achievements. Some of them are downright hilarious. If you have played it, you probably already know what we’re  talking about. If not, we don’t want to ruin your experience.

One Night Stand
One Night Stand, 2016 © Kinmoku

This leads us to the next level of interaction. Our character can examine many of the items in the room with his own analysis. These items will open up another conversation arc that we can further talk with our lady friend to create a bond. However, the choice is up to the player whether to pursue the conversation more. Technically, the option to go home is always available within certain limits. This makes for a flexible and realistic situation and each playthrough gains further knowledge especially when our character has woken up with no recollection of the night before or even the girl’s name. It helps creates immersion and believability as well as a goal. The story is still predetermined based on the combination of our choices but it makes for a flexible situation and see which endings are good or bad.

One Night Stand
One Night Stand, 2016 © Kinmoku

Another great addition is the art style that Kinmoku uses for One Night Stand. It looks like pencil sketches, very similar to games like Nintendo DS’s Hotel Dusk 215. Adding in the objective to find a way to leave or decide to learn more about this girl adds extra layers and depth, giving us a chance to make our personal choice especially in the first run. The fact that we also have an objective to not only learn more but try to figure out her name creates a clever twist.

Overall, One Night Stand delivers on many fronts from its hand-drawn visuals to its flexible conversation arcs and multiple endings and achievements. All this adds together in a beautiful package that encourages its players to dive in over and over again to uncover more. While One Night Stand is a short game for one playthrough, its ability to truly make our choices feel meaningful while telling an intriguing story of a one night stand morning after experience will garner interest to try to discover the other endings, giving it a lot of re-play value.

One Night Stand (2016) Game Review

Game description: One Night Stand, developed by Kinmoku, is a 2016 interactive visual novel that simulates the morning after a one night stand.

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